Thursday, January 26, 2017

RITE Time Clock Released for Retail Management Hero (RMH)

A quick note that Retail Information Technology Enterprises (RITE) has updated their Time Clock plug-in for Microsoft Dynamics RMS to also work with the Retail Management Hero (RMH) point of sale software.

While not fancy, this expands the capability of RMH to be used as a time clock for all of retailers staff to eliminate the need for a stand alone time clock program.

Pricing starts at $149 so this a very affordable plug in for RMS and RMH considering the potential time savings.

More information can be found at: http://rite.us/PlugInDirectory/TimeClock.aspx or by contacting RITE at 888-267-7483 or sales@rite.us


Friday, January 20, 2017

Cloud/No Cloud? Purchase or SaaS?

Which some of the "big gun" retail point of sale programs like Microsoft Dynamics moving to cloud and subscription based models, everyone may think that the future of point of sale technology is going to be only cloud and subscription based and not something that is purchased outright and deployed locally. This is not the case at all - both models have distinct advantages and disadvantages.

Part of why I am writing another post on this topic is that I'm constantly being told that the industry is moving towards mainly SaaS Cloud based solutions. My daily contact with retailers indicates a nearly even split in demand - in fact I've had several retailers tell me that they are migrating back to locally deployed point of sale systems after having poor experiences with SaaS Cloud based systems.  Point being - there is a need for both types of systems and its clear that many vendors will provide both for the foreseeable future.

Read on for more details:

Definitions:
  • Cloud: point of sale software is fully or partially hosted (and run) over the Internet
  • SaaS - Software as a Service: Continued use of the software requires payment of an on-going fee which is normally monthly
  • Subscription Based: same as SaaS for this particular blog post
  • Deployed: how the software is delivered to you/installed
Costs:
  • I've run multiple different costing models factoring in over 20 different point of sale software programs as well as different sizes of retailers. The reality is that the long term costs are similar in most cases. By long term, I mean a period of 5 to 7 years.
Read No Further - if the following applies to your business, you can rule out the Cloud-based point of sale programs in most cases:
  • Internet access in your area is limited, spotty, unreliable, or not available
  • You are in an IT role and want to keep your job/stay busy supporting the POS system
  • You have existing equipment in place (servers, hardware, etc) that are less than 3 years old and have no interest in replacing this equipment
  • The idea of always having to pay an ongoing fee to use the system is unappealing to you
  • You want full control of your data locally
  • Business equipment tax deductions are setup in a way that requires an outright purchase
Factors to Consider:
  1. Your business has limited funds - SaaS Cloud POS systems have lower initial costs
  2. You like having a set budgeted amount for POS software - SaaS Cloud POS systems have a flat amount that normally includes software updates as well as support
  3. You have limited or no IT staff - SaaS Cloud based POS systems are generally less intense to learn and use and include support in the on-going fee
  4. You have a high volume business like a liquor store or convenience store - My real world experience is that only POS systems that are run fully or partially locally at the store can provide the speed that high volume businesses require 
  5. Multiple location chains - I've found that the complexities of what chain business require generally dictates that a locally deployed POS system is used. This may change over the next 3-5 years.
  6. You require customization - there seems to be nearly equal availability for customization's and third party add-ons for both models. The main differences are how the customization or third party add-ons are paid for (upfront or on-going) 
There are always other factors but my main point is that you should not let anyone lead you down the wrong path when it comes to selecting the best point of sale system for your business.



Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Using First Data? Check Your Statements!

Update - since this blog post went up, I have also been contacted by TSYS users reporting a 11.5 cent/transaction non-compliance surcharge so its extremely clear that the credit card industry is cracking down on PCI/SHA-2/EMV requirements.

It has been reported to me that some First Data customers have started seeing $20 to $25 monthly fees on their statements for not being PCI compliant and/or not having the hardware in place to accept EMV/Chip Cards. While this may not sound like much, paying $240 to $300 per store location annually adds up quickly.

Microsoft Dynamics RMS users may want to take a look at Card Defender which is hardware and software for Microsoft Dynamics RMS that is PCI compliant, works with First Data, and also allows you to accept EMV/Chip Cards as payment.

More information on Card Defender can be found here: http://www.pospondering.com/p/card-defender-emv-for-rms.html 

You can also contact me at 208-340-5632 or kevinantosh@gmail.com for more information.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Point of Sale Best Practices - Natural Disasters

What if this was happening to you and your retail business?
  • Schools are closed for 9 days straight
  • The roof of your building collapses
  • Your stock and technology products are destroyed by water damage
  • Your sales decline by 95% 
  • Power goes out in -10 degree F temps
  • Store stock is depleted
  • Stock can not be replenished as trucks can not travel to your area
Well, right now all of the above is happening as a I type this right in the area that I live in - we are actually under a state of emergency due to a weather related natural disaster. Obviously I hope that this never happens to you or your business but here are some best practice tips when it comes to natural disasters and point of sale technology equipment:
  1. Make sure that all of your point of sale technology equipment is documented for insurance records (make, model, serial number - pictures or videos are even better if they clearly show the actual equipment as well as the details about each product).
  2. Ensure that all of your data is being backup up offsite - whether that be a removable drive or to a cloud based backup service.
  3. Have good power protection in place (line conditioner, battery back-up, etc) to help prevent power fluctuation related damage to the hardware.
  4. Make sure that you have the correct business insurance to cover technology products like point of sale software and hardware.
  5. Do work with the business that sold you the point of sale equipment to provide cost estimates for insurance claims.
As always, do contact me at 208-340-5632 or kevinantosh@gmail.com if I can be of further assistance - I have dealt with this on multiple occasions but this is the first widespread incident that has happened right where I live.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Updates on Retail Management Hero

Some updates related to the Retail Management Hero (RMH) retail point of sale software. As a reminder, RMH is a direct low cost replacement for Microsoft Dynamics RMS as well as some of the other Microsoft Dynamics POS products like POS 2.0 and POS 2007/2009.

RMH Central - New headquarters module to replace RMS HQ:

  • Rejoice!  No longer cloud based!!!  Just like RMS HQ, RMH Central will be a locally deployed solution
  • Direct replacement for RMS HQ
    • Keep all historical data
    • Same pricing structure as HQ
  • Better security and faster processes
  • Ready for deployment Q4 2017
RMH Updates:
  • Loyalty Module now included - based on the popular Hero Points add-on for RMS
    • 3 types of point collections
    • 7 types of point redemption
    • On premise (nice - not cloud based)
    • Various accelerators to promote faster point collection
  • QuickBooks integration (Q2 2017)
  • 3 e-commerce options
  • Weights and Measure certification and support (Q2 2017)
  • Additional payment processor support (varies by locale)
We are a fully certified RMH Partner (as well as a Microsoft Dynamics Partner) so I will list my work contact information in this post to obtain more information: 208-994-9404 or kevina@rite.us


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

How to obtain a 30 day trial license of the Retail Management Hero (RMH) point of sale software

Whether you call it an evaluation copy or trial version, I have a process in place for retailers to receive 30 day trial versions of the Retail Management Hero point of sale software. This is somewhat different from the days of endless evaluation CD's of Dynamics RMS being handed out in the mid 2000's (I still have a stack of them in my office) but the end result is similar - it allows retailers to take RMH for a "test drive".

A few requirements need to be met in order to obtain the 30 trial version of RMH so use the following as a check list (note that this applies to the retailers that I work with or new retailers that contact me and that this has been approved by both Retail Realm and RITE):
  1. Your store must be located in the US or Canada as we are not equipped to provide RMH trials outside of these countries plus Retail Realm has set up RMH Partners in most countries across the globe anyway.
  2. The trial license of RMH is free and includes a single "lane" license that is valid for 30 days.
  3. You must be a past, present, or future RITE customers as RMH can only be provided by trained Partners like RITE - there is a simple form that can be completed to accomplish this if you are not presently assigned to RITE.
  4. It has already been determined that RMH is a good fit for your business meaning that you have been shown a RMH demo and had pricing explained to you. You are also aware of any limitations in RMH. No sense spending time evaluating software if it is not a good match for your business!
  5. A signed proposal is required which will include the 30 day free trial version of RMH along with 3-5 hours of pre-paid support ($375 - $549). Here is the reasoning for having to purchase the support:
    • In my 18 years of working with over 4700 businesses, I've never had even one that required no support at all.
    • Comfort in knowing that a RITE tech will perform a basic install of RMH for you.
    • Not feeling stuck if you run in to a technical issue - assistance is just a toll free call away.
    • Some basic overview or "ad hoc" training is included so you do not miss key features or functions.
    • The investment will carry forward should you choose to actually implement RMH - in other words, you are not "out" anything if a full licensed copy of RMH is purchased within 30 days.
To learn more, please contact me at 208-340-5632 or kevinantosh@gmail.com